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Old Dec 2, 2008, 8:16 AM   #1
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I have a new XSI and headed to kids hockey game this weekend. I recevied some great help on basic setup and have one more (OK more than one but for now..)question.

What size files should I be taking? I see there is RAW on down...can someone explain?

Chris (Very green).
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Old Dec 2, 2008, 9:12 AM   #2
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The two MAJOR benefits of RAW are that it allows you to adjust white balance on the computer (beneficial if lighting is tricky or changing) and it allows you to adjust exposure issues with less impact to quality than if you make corrections to a JPEG file. A RAW file is often referred to as a digital negative. No adjustments (sharpness, saturation, white balance) are applied to the file. So it gives you a lot more flexibility. JPEG is a compressed file format. The camera applies all the in-camera adjustments and then converts the image to JPEG. The resulting file is MUCH smaller than the RAW image.

But RAW has some downsides:

Files are much larger so they take longer for camera to write to card and they fill up the card faster. Additionally it requires you to perform extra steps in post processing. You eventually have to convert from RAW to another format to print.

In many situations I would suggest shooting both RAW plus JPEG (XSI should allow you to save both file types). BUT, for a hockey game you may end up taking 200-500 photos (I don't know how snap-happy you'll be - usually just starting out people shoot a lot). So you'll need a lot of memory.

Eventually you become adept enough at setting exposure and white balance that RAW poses unnecessary overhead for 95% of sports shooting. The ONLY time I shoot RAW now for sports work is if I have a gym whose light setup is so poorly constructed that you get constant temperature changes. So if you shot a 5 frame burst, each shot would have a different white balance. Not many gyms are that bad. In MOST gyms you'll get a little fluctuation between shots. But with a custom white balance you'll just see a slight color cast in some shots. Still not worth shooting RAW in.

In either case, I would NEVER recommend shooting at a smaller than Large size. Always use the largest size. So either RAW or L-JPEG or both. Never give up resolution for sports images. You'll need all the pixels you can get.

Whether to shoot RAW for your first match depends on how much memory you have. If you have an 8gb card or larger you should get a couple hundred RAW + LJpeg. If you only have a 4GB card now you're looking at less than 200 RAW only shots. Less than that I would recommend shooting JPEG only.

At some point you should try RAW to see if you prefer working with those image files and the flexibility they provide over JPEG. But you need enough memory to try it.
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Old Dec 2, 2008, 9:21 AM   #3
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I would suggest the Large-Fine for the highest quality JPEG images. RAW is nice but slows the camera down quite a bit, and requires post processing. You'll be shooting in Continuous mode, so speed is important, and you'll be taking a lot of shots, and a lot of post processing can be tedious.

RAW + Large/Fine will give you a good quality JPEG image, plus a RAW file if you wnat toplay with it, but that slows the camera even more.
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